Monday, December 27, 2010

Buying A New Car- Where to go and not to go. (Another Adventure with My Friend "Coupon")

If you have been listening to the radio or watching WPTZ news you are likely familiar with the local dealership that features "Two Good Looking Guys" that ends with "Does a Reindeer BLEEP (insert bodily function word) Snow?" This dealership has an excellent service and parts department but their sales staff (with the exception of a few...Shout out to The Heonis brothers- Thanks for not blowing smoke and being very helpful!) is a nightmare.  Add to it the fact that they are led by a smooth talking "good looking guy"- the giant of the "good looking guy duo" and the situation is pretty dismal.  This business obviously has internal control issues given the recent theft of 4 (yes FOUR) vehicles by one of their lead sales employees.  I have been working on this "How To Buy A Vehicle The Coupon Clipper Way" for some time, but today the Reindeer commercial was on and a high gloss sales ad came in the mail.  I figured it was high time to post this, just in case anyone is looking to make a high ticket vehicle purchase anytime soon. 

This summer I went on a little vacation with a good friend.  For purposes of this post we'll call her Coupon.  Anyone who knows either of us personally already knows the greatest adventure our vacation included.  We negotiated one of the best car transactions I have been involved in. From a thousand miles away! While we shopped and lounged on the beach!  To appreciate this feat let me share a few details.
  • Our initial car buying adventure started at "The Good Looking Guy" dealership.  Every transaction has to go through Sasquatch.  He is the deal sealer or flubber.  He likes to use big words he does not comprehend and likes to fill the hero role by getting you into a vehicle for your target payment per month price point.  THIS IS NEVER A GOOD SIGN!  Then he uses high pressure tactics ("This APR can change in a nano second. HURRY UP AND SIGN A CONTRACT!".  "This is the best used vehicle we've had in (Since the wall of china was built). It's going to fly out of the lot! HURRY UP AND SIGN A CONTRACT!".  If he throws around the terms "Niche Market" while trying to low ball you with a trade in value; he got it from me.  Ask him what it means.  Maybe by now he can explain that not everyone will want your 1969 muscle car trade in and it will be hard for him to move it off the lot.  Sasquatch refuses to sit down to run and work the numbers crunch on paper.  He focuses on monthly payment amount, not what goes into getting to that monthly payment amount. GAME OVER RUN FROM LOT!
  • The next adventure led New Shiny Subaru Dealership in town.  Here they did not blow smoke, but again high pressure to buy something that won't be around for long.  Great lesson in LISTEN TO YOUR HEART and SLEEP ON IT!  Should you be in a rush to buy or are they just in a rush to sell?   If the answers are not "NO!"....RUN!  Let the next shopper "score the deal".  There is another deal waiting for you!
  • We went on vacation with no intention of shopping for a car, but when a simple online search for a USED vehicle turned up a crazy deal not too far from home we called for more information.  Enter the king of Subarus- Mr. Frank Whipple!  This man is a blessing and breath of fresh air.  Just chatting with him brings about visions of Fred Rogers bringing you for a guided tour of the factory and feeding you warm fuzzies by the bushel basket.
By following these simple rules we were able to:
  • Save time not running from dealership to dealership
  • Score a brand new vehicle that met every want and need on the "wish list"
  • Dump an undesirable trade in
  • Save a significant pile of coin by paying MUCH less in tax
  • Lower Coupon's monthly payment to a lower than target monthly amount without extending the term of the loan.  THERE IS NO POINT TO LOWER PAYMENT IF YOU HAVE TO MAKE MORE OF THEM!
Must Dos for getting the BEST DEAL
  • You want all of the numbers.  What is the vehicle worth? What is the MSRP? What is the invoice amount? What kind of kickbacks does the dealership earn for average volume?
All of these factors play significant roles.  If the dealership is not willing to share the information, choose not to share your transaction with them.  Frank Whipple Shares, Dan from Parker's Shares, Joe from Knight's shares. Find one of them or someone like them and it is a win-win! 
  • What can the dealership do to up the value of your trade in? Are there dealership incentives or rebates that can be shifted and called "trade in"?
Personally I want to save and don't care what the source of savings come in.  In this case, upping the trade in value by applying dealership incentives to that number, shaved another significant sum off of the grand total.  It is legal and it is super fun! I highly recommend demanding this trick.
  • Don't Rush!
  • Never go car shopping with the mind set of "I'm driving a new car home today".
  • Don't be afraid to "waste the sales reps time".
  • This is a service industry and your business is earned. They need you, you do not need them!
  • You do not owe a sales person a sale for "running numbers" and blowing smoke.
  • Don't be fooled by "good looks". 
  • Be swept off your feet by honesty, logic, and professionalism.
  • Look out for Sasquatches! They are everywhere and build a relationship with the Fred Roger's types that are still out there.
Check back later for an exciting post all about Mr. Frank Whipple.  He wins sales person of the year as far as I am concerned.  His dealership grew to be the largest "certified pre-owned dealership in the country" because they still believe in customer service.

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